Knoll nods to Moorish architecture in new LA store by Johnston Marklee
When former Knoll International president Yves Vidal bought York Castle in Tangier, Morocco – a 16th-century Portuguese castle later possessed by the Moors and subsequent sultans – he decided its historic backdrop would be the perfect counterpoint for the company’s streamlined designs. In the early 1960s, he transformed the once-crumbling structure into a modernist idyll. The new Knoll Home Design Shop in Los Angeles draws inspiration from the iconic palace, similarly melding midcentury design with warmer, more tranquil environs.
After an 80-year-long history of fostering Bauhaus design, Knoll’s first Home Design Shop outside of New York sees the brand putting its stamp of approval on the city’s design scene. The Robertson Boulevard–located store, a few blocks from the Pacific Design Center, has been conceived by local architecture firm Johnston Marklee alongside Knoll’s Benjamin Pardo.
Knoll Home Design Shop, LA, designed by Johnston Marklee
The firm is known among the city’s creative class for gallery spaces such as Honor Fraser, Various Small Fires and Roberts & Tilton, as well as Maison Martin Margiela’s Beverly Hills outpost. With oversize windows, suggestions of archways and polished grey terrazzo with white marble aggregate, the shop’s corner building offers a contemporary riff on its palatial inspirations.
Inside, the space is united by the rich material palette of northern Italian architecture of the 1950s and 60s. Knoll has introduced a new palette for customisable designs at the shop, such as rose-gold metallic finishes, rosso rubino marbles and curly shearling upholstery. Also featured are celebrated Knoll designs now available in the US for the first time, such as Tobia Scarpa’s 1962 ‘Bastiano’ lounge collection and Piero Lissoni’s contemporary ‘Avio’ sofas and ‘Grasshopper’ tables. Other designs include midcentury staples by Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen as well as work by contemporary masters such as David Adjaye and Frank Gehry, offering up the historic brand’s past and present for its West Coast future.